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U.S. Republicans to propose smaller coronavirus stimulus bill: CNBC

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the coronavirus is placed on U.S. dollar banknotes, in this illustration taken on March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

(Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress are working on a narrow coronavirus stimulus bill that could be circulated to rank-and-file lawmakers as soon as this week, CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

For weeks now, Republicans and Democrats have been deadlocked over the size and shape of a fifth coronavirus-response bill, on top of the approximately $3 trillion already enacted into law.

Reuters has not confirmed the report. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, had no comment.

In mid-May, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved more than $3 trillion in additional aid to state and local governments, individuals, front-line medical workers and others in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in over 179,000 deaths in the United States alone.

McConnell responded earlier this month with a $1 trillion plan that focused largely on providing new limits on liability lawsuits for businesses and schools that reopen during the pandemic.

On Saturday, the House approved $25 billion in new aid for the U.S. Postal Service in a move that also would cancel a series of cost-cutting measures at the agency amid fears that they could hamper the delivery of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.

There has been speculation that the House bill could become a vehicle for approving a larger coronavirus bill if there was a bipartisan deal.

Currently, Congress is on a summer break until after the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday.

Reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker

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